‘NO tradition is more important than pain’ and ‘torture is not my culture’ were just two of the messages on display at Plaza del Torro in Estepona on Saturday, where protestors rallied to denounce a weekend of bullfighting on which 12 specimens were killed.

“Nowadays, it doesn’t make sense to have animal cruelty and to have people paying to see bulls dying,” 22-year-old Marbella resident Cristina Nieves Fernandez told The Olive Press.

Studded with badges from Greenpeace and other campaign groups, Fernandez was one of the more seasoned activists at the demonstration on Saturday, which was attended by a total of over 20 locals and expats. Although she always goes on such protests, Fernandez felt that this one was especially important.

“With COVID, everything is shut down, but [the bullring] is still open,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

ACTIVIST: Fernandez with her protest board

In keeping with the coronavirus restrictions, the protestors spaced themselves two metres apart along the wall outside the bullring car park, where they flashed their messages at passing cars. Often, they were often met with a beep of approval.

For Zofia Strzalkowska, a British citizen who has been living in Estepona for seven years, attending the protest was ‘the least [she] could do.’

“This is the first time I have come to one of these demonstrations, but I feel very proud to be here,” she said in an interview.

When asked about her hopes for the future, Strzalkowska expressed her wish for activists like Fernandez ‘to start a bit of a revolution’ in Spain, where bullfighting has been practised for centuries.

“If the youngsters who are here can teach their parents and their grandparents that [bullfighting] is completely unethical, then that will be a good start.”

CAMPAIGN GROUP: Members of Estepona Antitaurina

Also at the demonstration were members of Estepona Antitaurina, a local group dedicated to ending the controversial Spanish corrida. There are many such organisations across the country, and the Animalist Party Against the Mistreatment of Animals founded in 2003 has made the abolition of bullfighting one of its main aims.

COVID-19 restrictions permitting, Fernandez and other protestors from Estepona Antitaurina will be protesting outside many of the bullfights due to take place this season.

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